The Anatomy of Drum Sticks

Drum sticks are a somewhat important part of a drummer’s gear. But, what’s the low down on a couple pieces of wood? Here’s the scoop on sticks.

A typical drum stick is turned from a single piece of wood, most commonly of hickory, or sometimes maple or oak. Drum sticks of are also made from metal, carbon fiber and other modern materials.

A proper stick education begins with its anatomy. The tip (or bead) is the part most often used to strike the instrument. Originally, and commonly of the same piece of wood as the rest of the stick, sticks with nylon tips have also been available since the late 1950s.

Tips of whatever material are of various shapes, including acorn, barrel, oval, teardrop, pointed and round.

The shoulder of the stick is the part that tapers towards the tip and is normally slightly convex. It is often used for playing the bell of a cymbal. It can also be used to produce a cymbal crash.

The shaft is the body of the stick, and is cylindrical for most applications. It is used for playing cross stick and applied in a glancing motion to the rim of a cymbal for the loudest cymbal crashes.

The butt is the opposite end of the stick to the tip. Some rock and metal musicians use it rather than the tip.

Now that we have the anatomy handled, let’s talk the assortment of brands. Here at Paradiddles, we offer several:

  • Cannon

  • Innovative Percussion Inc
Los Cabos

  • Pro-Mark

  • Regal Tip

  • Vater
  • Percussion Inc. 

  • Vic Firth

  • Zildjian

Vic Firth is our number one seller for several reasons. Firth is one of the leaders in drum sticks. Their Signature Series is one of their most popular stick series. Each signature stick is made with the same care and respect for artistry and musicality. Models in the firth-sigsSignature Series are designed through extensive research with the finest drummers from a variety of musical styles. The designs reflect their musical requirements in terms of feel, sound projection and cymbal color. Vic’s Signature Series truly puts the artist’s personal touch into a drummer’s hands! Visit their website to view some interesting videos about their stick-making process.

Zildjian, primarily know for its cymbals, also manufactures high-quality drum sticks. Their 5A Maple Green Dip sticks are very sensitive and controllable. Maple wood provides a lightweight5B-Wood-Blk-Dip alternative to Hickory. Maple sticks produce dark tones on your instrument and offer a softer feel. Supplement your favorite stick with a maple version to give your playing a new, yet very familiar treatment. Maple DIP® models are treated with a double coating of our exclusive DIP® grip. This provides a desirable back-weighting to the stick that is particularly noticeable in the lightweight maple models.

If you are looking for a stick that gives you the maximum grip to relax your hands and still be light enough to fly, Maple DIP’s are for you.

At the end of the day, it’s the combination of tip, shaft, length and taper that creates a stick having the power for heavy gigs or offering the articulation and balance necessary for pop, fusion and more sensitive styles. Choose the right sticks for your playing style.

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